Scrabble Hints

Scrabble, though a game of luck, is also a game of strategy. When you combine the two, there is no way you cannot emerge a winner. For those of you who want to improve their game, here are some simple hints and tips that will help.
Be on Top of the Game
To really get better at Scrabble, concede to a certain number of losses to an ace player initially, and in the process, observe and learn from his approach to the game. Eventually you will be able to beat him to the winning spot.

Scrabble is a game that can be mastered only over time and practice with some seasoned players as your opponents (for me, it was my mother). By monitoring the way they play their game and the way they strategize (this is definitely not a simple word game) to get more points, you can get better at this game and pose a real challenge for your opponent. But that's not all. There are minor things that can lead to a major increase in your overall score and make you reigning champion of the season.
1. Start off Right

All of you know that the center star is to be utilized while making a word at the start of a Scrabble game. This star is surrounded by a double letter score, 4 blank spaces away, on all 4 sides. When you start, use this double letter score by placing a high-point letter on it. For instance, if you can make the word 'BUILT', place the 'B' on the double letter score. This gives you 6 points instead of 3 for the letter 'B' and increases your overall score. Even if it is a simple word such as 'STAND', place the 'D' on the double letter. And if you are blessed with a 'Q' or a 'J' and can make words such as 'QUIET', 'JUICE', 'QUALM', etc., you are off to a great start. Remember if you have two letters that have individual points higher than one, always try to place the letter with the higher score on the double letter. For instance, if you can make a word such as 'CAGED', place the 'C' on the double letter and not the 'D'.
2. Use the Power of Double and Triple Letter/Word Score

These squares on the board, referred to as bonus squares, are often overlooked. But imagine placing a 'C' on the double letter score that is just above or beside a triple word score, or making the word 'QUIZ' (if you are really lucky) in exactly the same spot. You have a whopping 96 points from a word that effectively only adds up to 22 points. The same goes for a double word score. If you notice, double word scores are surrounded by triple letter and double letter scores too. If you can make the most of these by placing high point letters on them, your score is bound to increase exponentially.
3. Focus on Points, Not on Words

We're all out to prove that we have great vocabulary while playing Scrabble. Thus, we would rather make 'VERSE' instead of 'SERVE' even if simply by interchanging the letters on a bonus square you would get more points for the latter than for the former. Keep in mind, sometimes simple words get you more points than the fancy ones, and so does the method of using lesser tiles to make a word with higher points. 'CUB' will give you more points than 'STUB'. However, there may be times when you simply need to exhaust your letters so that you get better letters. At the cost of a turn, you could make a 6-letter word instead of a 4-letter word so that you can get rid of all those letters that are not helping you.
4. Score Huge Points with 2 and 3-Letter Words

Scrabble officially recognizes a list of two-letter words and three-letter words that you can use to score massive points. To be able to focus on points more than words, use the power of these words and weave magic on the board. Remember, some of the words such as 'QI' and 'XU' can not only give you great points if placed on bonus squares, they can also block opponent moves and prevent them from sailing ahead of you.
5. Familiarize Yourself with the Official Scrabble Dictionary

Every Scrabble player should own or at least be familiar with The Official SCRABBLE ® Players Dictionary, Fourth Edition by Merriam-Webster in order to be able to play an incredible game of Scrabble. With words like YUTZ (a stupid, foolish, or ineffectual person) and MUSKOX (a large bovid of arctic regions - Hey, bovid is a word, too!), you can definitely up your game and your score. Do understand that other dictionaries may not recognize some of these words, so establish which dictionary you will be going by before you begin game play. Visit the online version of the Official Scrabble Dictionary on the Hasbro website.
6. Utilize High-point Letters (K, J, X, Q, Z) Well

When all these letters are placed on bonus squares, their value increases greatly, and so does your overall score. As has been mentioned earlier, making the word 'QUIZ' by placing the 'Q' on more than one bonus square (e.g. triple letter with double word score) will help you score far better. How you use these letters depends on your vocabulary as well as your knowledge of the Official Scrabble Dictionary.
Quick Hint: When speaking of the letter 'Q', there's a whole list of words where you don't have to wait for a 'U' to make a word. Here's some of them:
  • FAQIR (Muslim who spurns worldly possessions)
  • QANAT (underground channel)
  • QORMA (mild Indian dish)
  • QINTAR (Albanian currency)
  • QWERTY (the traditional configuration of computer keyboard keys)
The more you play, the better you will be able to utilize these letters.
7. Keep an Eye Open for 'S', 'ED', 'LY', 'ING'

Various words can be modified to mean different things, and this can be utilized to enhance word play in Scrabble. For one, if you are getting more points simply by adding an 'S' or a 'D' to the world 'BONE' it is a better idea to go for this rather than making a futile 2-3 letter word. The same goes for the other suffixes such as 'ED', when added to words such as 'LIVEN', or 'LY' added to the word 'WEEK', or 'ING' added to the word 'DAWN'. A lot of us are known to hang on to 'ING' when we get these letters in the hope of making a 7-letter word. However, this is sometimes not possible. For instance, when you have the letters 'V, M, S, E, I, N, G', there is no possibility of making a 7-letter word. However, you can make words such as 'GIVEN', 'GIVES', 'SING', that will get you some points rather than trying to make words only with 4 letters. Always understand the implications of such moves before you make them.
8. Look out for Parallels

Making two, three, and even four words at one time is possible in Scrabble, but you must have a keen eye to observe where such parallels can be played. Using an 'S' or a 'D' to connect two words, or adding 'Z' against 'ONE' to make another word such as 'ZOOM' gives you 20 points with the 'Z' alone, and more if it is placed on a double or triple letter score.
9. Aim for a Bingo

Sometimes, time constraints do not allow you to think clearly, and you miss out on the opportunity to make a 7-letter word (called a Bingo in Scrabble slang). Always be on the lookout for such an opportunity to grab a 50-point bonus. Sometimes you may not have a whole word on your rack, but by hooking, you can use all your 7 letters and create an 8-letter word. For instance, if there is an 'E' on the board and an opening around, and if you have the letters 'G, R, E, I, N, E, N', you can make the word 'ENGINEER' by using all your 7 letters, even though it is an 8-letter word.
Here's another major tip. Never give up on the letters E, A, R, T, I, N, S. Known as the golden combo for a 50-point bonus, you can add these letters to the board to make a strong 8-letter word. Think STRAINED, TERRAINS, TRAINERS, and much more.
10. Shuffle Tiles on Your Rack Frequently

To make better words and give yourself a better choice, keep shuffling the tiles on your rack so you can come up with word combinations that will get you higher points. Put letters like 'ING', 'ER', 'MIS', 'CH', and more together and you will be able to find some great word combination that you can play.
11. Block Opponent Moves

Even in Scrabble, you can definitely weaken your opponent's position if you can't strengthen your own position. This you can do by making words that cannot be lengthened by adding additional letters in strategic locations. For instance, if you have 4 blank spaces before a triple word score, and you cannot use all the spaces because you don't have enough letters, you can make a word that will not allow your opponent to use the triple word score either. So if you make the word 'THE' before this point, your opponent can easily add 'RE' to make 'THERE' and use the triple word score. However, if you make 'THEN' or 'THAT' nothing can be added, which means the triple word is blocked for your opponent as well.
12. Exchange Letters You Can't Use

There are times when you have only consonants or only vowels on your tile rack, and you are unable to make any words. At times like these the best move is to exchange one or more letters for others, even if it is at the cost of one chance. If you try to exhaust these letters one by one, and if your opponent has all the right letters, she/he will go way ahead of you while you try to get better letters. Even great Scrabble players swap tiles, so you shouldn't be embarrassed about doing so. Here's a list of situations when you may want to swap tiles:
  • You are lagging behind in the game and need to catch up with your opponent.
  • You have 6 letters of the golden combination (e.g. R, A, N, T, I, S, O) and think you may be able to draw the E by exchanging O.
  • Using your letters will give your opponent a huge opening and you, very few points.
These are tactical exchanges that should be made wisely. Of course, what you draw is anybody's guess, but it can turn the game in your favor and is a risk worth taking if you are in any of the aforementioned positions.
13. Use Up High-point Letters Before the Game Ends

The rule in Scrabble is that if you don't exhaust all your letters at the end of the game before your opponent does, the points of the remaining letters on your rack get added up to your opponent's score, and subtracted from your own score. To avoid that, use up the high-point letters before the game ends. This can easily strip you off your winning position and lead to a sorry defeat.
You will learn more strategies of your own when you play regularly. These tips and tricks are great to start you off and will prove helpful in making you an undisputed master of the game!
Scrabble Tiles
Terror Spelled With Old Scrabble Letters